NGL 2110: American Literature I
Final Exam Online
Answer BOTH questions.
Each answer should be a short essay of at least 500 words worth 20 points. (The 500-word minimum length requirement for each answer does NOT include your works cited page. Each essay answer, not counting the works cited page, should be at least 500 words long.) Observe these word count requirements carefully. You MUST use quotations and/or paraphrases from our textbook (and, if you wish, our Discussion Board) to support your answers.
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On the Midterm, I did not ask you to cite quotations drawn from our text. But, on the Final, you MUST CITE those sources, using parenthetical citations and a works cited page. Add a single works cited page at the end of your exam; it will include sources for both your answers. (In other words, for citation purposes, treat your two answers as a fast custom essay.)
Here are some things to keep in mind as you write your works cited page:
1) You will almost certainly be quoting from more than one work in our textbook (which is an anthology), so your works cited page will need to follow the model for “Two or More Works in the Same Anthology,” as Prentice Hall Reference Guide calls it.
2) If you quote from one of the introductory sections of our text (the author or period introductions), you must treat that section as a separate work within the anthology. It’s not always clear who wrote these introductory sections, so, as author, use Robert S. Levine, the general editor of our textbook.
3) If you quote from our Discussion Board, you should cite the source INFORMALLY, by simply stating, in the sentence, that the quote comes from our course Discussion Board. Also be sure to offer the name of the writer of the Discussion Board post. In other words, for a quote from our class Discussion Board, you should NOT include a formal parenthetical citation or a works cited page entry.
Remember that this is a test, NOT A RESEARCH PROJECT. Your task is to show your understanding of our textbook and our online discussions. I do NOT expect you to use outside sources (that is, sources beyond our textbook and course materials).
But if you feel you must, you must be careful to do the following: 1) Use no more than ONE outside source, total, for the exam.
2) Your outside source MUST come from a Roane State Library online database. But even within those databases, you must select your specific source carefully.
3) If you include an outside source, you must carefully cite it (just as you must cite our textbook), following MLA format, meaning that you must include parenthetical citations and a works cited page, so that I can easily find your source and review it. Incorrect or incomplete citation format will lower your grade.
4) Don’t be tempted to use outside sources without citing them. Failure to cite is plagiarism. (I should remind you that I’ve activated the automatic plagiarism checker. The checker does not distinguish between work copied from someone else and work copied from a paper you yourself have written for another class.
Severe penalties apply in both cases.) Finally, proofread very carefully: your writing matters, including punctuation, spelling, mechanics. Save and post both of your answers in a single Microsoft Word or Rich Text file document.
The Final is worth a little more than a third of your total grade for the semester.
1. In a short essay of at least 500 words, compare and contrast Dickinson’s poem 1675 (it begins, “Of God we ask one favor”) with section 20 of Whitman’s Song of Myself (this section of Whitman’s poem begins “Who goes there?”). Dickinson’s poem is on page 1691 of our text; Whitman’s is on 1325-1326.
Your most important task is to capture the themes or implied messages of these poems. To do that well, you must discuss the key images and metaphors of the poems. You must, in other words, demonstrate that you understand the writers’ language and ideas.
(Because Dickinson’s poem is very short, you’ll want to discuss the movement of ideas line-by-line; for Whitman, you’ll want to do this in a more summary way, or perhaps stanza-by-stanza.) You should also say a few words about the sound (or “musical”) effects of the poems: the use literary devices (or not) of rhyme, meter, rhythm, alliteration, etc.
An excellent answer will show how these features of the poems contribute to their cumulative effects. Then you must discuss the ways in which the poems are alike and different. Some of the differences in style and voice will be obvious (though not always easy to describe).
But comparing the themes or messages or attitudes will be a tougher job. Both poets are eager to share ideas, to share a perspective on life. What are those ideas? In what ways are they alike and different?
2. The characters Rappaccini (in Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter”), Aylmer (in Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark”), Vere (in Melville’s Billy Budd), and the unnamed narrator in Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” all think of themselves as good guys, men who are doing the right thing.
But all four end up contributing to the death–or directly causing the death–of people they claim to love–or at least greatly admire.
In an essay of at least 500 words, compare and contrast these four characters. What motivates them? In what ways are their choices similar? In what ways are they different? Finally, be sure to show how these characters, and their behaviors, reflect the themes of the stories in which they appear.
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